Stella’s Marina Restaurante y Bar

UPDATE Match 14, 2010: A comment below says that the restaurant is not open on Sundays now.

Last Thursday, another restaurant opened up in Pedregal, a suburb of David. One of the Chiriquí Chatter readers had sent me an email about this new restaurant and recommended that I try it. Sunday seemed like a good day. To get to the restaurant, you drive as it you are going to the David airport and you just keep going straight all the way until the road ends. On the right side of the road is the entrance to the marina and that is where you will find the restaurant.

I have not been to this area to eat in almost 4 years. The restaurant has been updated and has a large outdoor area, that will handle plenty of people. Here is one photo, and there is another area to the other side that is even larger.

If you prefer, there is an area inside as well.

I caught our waitress just as she was leaving the bar area. She would probably have dropped the tray, if she had known her photo was going on the Internet.

Here are the hours of operation.

The menu had plenty of items to chose from. The prices seemed reasonable to me.

The restaurant is right on the marina and there were a fair amount of boats docked there. I saw one that said Costa Rica and another that said Amsterdam.

My plate came out first. I ordered surf and turf (brocheta mar y tierra) and French fries (not in the photo). It was extremely good. It is always difficult to cook shrimp and beef on a kabob and not get the shrimp too done or the beef too rare. This was perfect.

The second plate was fish in a garlic sauce. I was told it was good.

The last dish was fish in lemon sauce. I was told it was good also.

I got a slice of the lemon pie to go. I ate it in the house and I give it high marks.

One of the more interesting parts of this trip was getting to talk to the owner, Walter Unholz. He is a swiss chef and recently moved to Panama after living in Costa Rica for the last 12 years. For anyone considering Panama vs. Costa Rica, you should go to this restaurant, have a great meal, and then chat with Walter. Anyone that then makes the move to Costa Rica will do it well warned.

I appreciate the reader that sent me the recommendation to go to Stella’s Marina Restaurant. I had a great time in a relaxed atmosphere with very good food. I need to quit reviewing restaurants, or start walking more.

UPDATED September 26, 2011. Following is a video driving to Stella’s.

31 thoughts on “Stella’s Marina Restaurante y Bar

  1. Don,
    Nice review. Prices seem to be going up in Panama though! I can get the same type of food here in CR for less! Hard to believe? I know..but shhhhhhhhhhhh ..don’t tell anyone..
    Your new chef friend is right! Costa Rica is an absolutely HORRIBLE place. Nasty people, high prices, poor food and high labor rates…not to mention roads that look like swiss cheese, foul air & putrid water!!
    Please keep reminding people how horrible it is in Costa Rica. So horrible, in fact, that Costa Rican banks just adjusted the USDollar 4% downward against the local currency, so you’d all do well to stay the course right where you are!
    Pura Vida!!

  2. Hi KK. Figured you would respond to this post.

    I can eat for less here as well. You have to compare apples to apples. I ate in Costa Rica today in their version of Pio Pio and my two pieces of chicken with fries and a drink cost $4 something. The same thing in Panama would have been at least a dollar less.

    With the recent devaluation of the US dollar all US retirees in Costa Rica just got a 4% cut in their purchasing power. Of course many Costa Rican’s head to the Frontera so they can purchase items at Panamanian prices. That has to tell you something.

    So far, you are the only person I have ever heard of that prefers CR to Panama. I am glad you found your happiness. I am sure you deserve it.

  3. You bet Don! We really like CR! Maybe you just haven’t met enough of the right people yet :). We like Panama and made some good friends too.. We were up in Volcan though, where life is really worth living..eternal spring and all.. but the real estate prices were outta sight as far as I could tell. We missed a few halfway decent deals that went to ‘locals’ but what the heck, I’ve got no problem giving back to the citizenry! Like now, for example..we have a fine middle aged contractor helping out with the kitchen & some other things. Since he has 3 children, a wife, motorcycle, tuition, likes to eat etc.., I pay him more than the local folk/gringos do. (Just my conscience I guess). Plus with having the correct distributions, there’s no problem (as of today!) keeping ahead of inflation, which is just another word for currency devaluation and out!…
    I care about older folks retired down here on fixed incomes and I’ll try to help out here again, mostly to those holding USD’s:
    ..If you all want to continue to enjoy comfortable lifestyles no matter where you the Swiss Franc and buy it right! That way you’ll all be eating surf ‘n turf every night and topping off the tank with a smile on your face!!
    BTW Don, If needed I can slide over to Golfito and buy all the cheap stuff I want but seeing as I’m going to Panama anyhow, the PriceSmart will have to do. You better get over there while there’s still some Ron Abuelo Anejo left!! My friends here like it too!
    Todo Bien!

  4. The restaurant had a different owner i didn´t know the administration changed, It looks much better now… i have to go… the food looks Delicious.

  5. Thanks for the review. I’m going to check it out.

    On another topic, does anyone have recommendations for a fishing guide out of Pedregal?


  6. Hi Robert. I enjoyed the restaurant. I have no information, but the marina has signs I think for boats for hire.

    I don’t use guides. I don’t catchum, just eatum.

  7. Hi Don: Based on your review, 5 of us (and our not as yet one year old niece) went to Stella’s for dinner last night to celebrate a birthday. The food was very good, the service was super and the ambience was a wonderful change from the other restaurants in the David area (the smell of the salt air coming in on a bit of a breeze was special). We met both Willy and his wife who are both charming. We will definitely go there again. (It didn”t hurt that the birthday honoree was gifted with a slice of yummy lemon cheesecake from the chef – with enough spoons to go around for tastes….) Thanks for your recommendation!

  8. Don: Forgot to mention, we went to the new Thai restaurant in Volcan on Tuesday and enjoyed it very much. It’s called Restaurant Polineth and is on the Cerro Punta road about 1 km out from the “Y”. I did kind of a little review on the Yahoo “Gringos In David” forum. Something you might want to try next time you go up the hill…………Wendy

  9. Hello Don,
    Hello Don,

    I really like your blog. There is plenty of information in many subjects.
    Sorry to hear that the restaurant (Stella’s Marina) will be closed during my visit to Panama (Sep 19 through the 28th, 2008).

    Mu question: Is there any fish market in Pedregal? I am specifically interested in buying lobsters.

    Thank you for your reply,

    Ricardo Bermudez

  10. Hi Ricardo. Thanks for dropping in. There are several markets on the way to the marina. I have only stopped at a couple and I don’t remember either having lobsters, but some may have them. I am sure you can find langostinos, but whether you can find lobsters, I am not sure.

    If anyone else knows, maybe they will comment.

  11. Hi Don, I have been living in Pedregal now for about 6 months and I also have a house in Golfito….. You are 200% correct concerning the prices in Panama compared to Costa Rica. I rent currently in Panama and own in C/R and it is cheaper to pay rent here and just visit there. Who is this KK person and what does he smoke. Yes the food was a/o/k at the marina…… pura vida, Bob

    PS The local lobsters are being sold on almost every major road by street vendors. To me there just big schrimp……

  12. Hi Bob. I think what I have seen many vendors selling on the corners are called Longastinos del rio and are not ocean lobsters. I may be wrong.

  13. Does anyone have contact information to the marina? I’ve tried a couple email addresses found via google, but came back as non-working. Thanks

  14. I haven’t been out there in a while. I sent an email to the address I had and I told Walter that you are wanting him to contact you.

    My email was returned and I called the cell number I had and it no longer works as well.

  15. Don Ray,
    I went out to Stella Marina this afternoon for lunch after church only to be told that they are no longer open on Sundays. We were told this by the attendant at the gas pump and didn’t personally check to see if there was a note on the door. It definitely looked closed up. Just thought you and others would be interested.



  16. Hi Don Ray,
    I was thinking of scheduling the gringo get together at Stella’s for December. Do you have a contact number for them? It would be nice if we could just call them and make arrangements rather than having to take a trip. We are just back from the States. Chris is recovering from his operation nicely.

  17. Last week we went to Stella’s Marina for dinner. We were 6 one of which a boy and all of us liked the food very much. Service was ok. We didn’t see Walter. We were there at 7 pm until 9pm. After 8.30 pm the waitress started to take away the dishes very quickly, apparantly she wanted to finish her day on time, which was ok with us.

  18. Hi Jorge. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I has bee a while since I have been there, but I have always had good food there.

Leave a Reply